2023-0504: FAPA Celebrates 40th Anniversary in Taipei; U.S. Defense Firms Vow More Cooperation

FAPA Celebrates 40th Anniversary in Taipei with Grand Banquet

FAPA celebrated its 40th anniversary in Taipei on May 1 with a banquet attended by Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and other guests.

Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton (who was on a week-long visit in Taiwan), Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te and Taiwan-based contract chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) founder Robert Tsao were among the guests.

In her talk, President Tsai thanked FAPA members for their advocacy efforts to the U.S. Congress, which she said has laid a foundation for bipartisan support for Taiwan in Washington, and she described the organization as “pioneer of Taiwan’s public diplomacy.”

Tsai said China had recently used military exercises to deliberately escalate its threat to the region, but Taiwan’s calm and composed response showed the country’s determination to safeguard cross-Taiwan Strait peace to the world.

Tsai assured FAPA members, most of whom are naturalized Taiwanese Americans or overseas Taiwanese, that Taiwan will continue to stand steadfast on the “forefront of democracy and freedom” to defend the democratic human rights that the Taiwanese have won.

Addressing the banquet in a keynote speech, Bolton said FAPA has played an incredibly important role in the long struggle of advocating the belief shared by many Taiwanese Americans in independence for Taiwan as a sovereign country, which he said it clearly is.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin has formed a new axis between China and Russia, with rogue states like North Korea and Iran and Belarus being part of the axis, Bolton said.

Bolton emphasized that telling Taiwan not to be provocative was misguided.

“There is only one country in this region that’s being provocative right now and its capital is Beijing,” he said. “It’s the existence of Taiwan that’s provocative to China.”

One might say that the growing threat of the China-Russia axis worldwide would put Taiwan off to the side and diminish attention to Taiwan, but it has had the opposite effect, he said.

This axis threatens countries worldwide, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine being a dramatic demonstration of the nature of this threat, and many countries can see that the threat they face from China is deeply connected to the future of Taiwan, he added.

Bolton suggested that Taiwan and the U.S. can do a lot more together to increase cooperation militarily and between intelligence agencies to help deter China from attacking Taiwan.

“The more Taiwan is embedded in collective self-defense structures, again, the less likely it is that China will take aggressive action in the first place,” he said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202305010017
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/05/02/2003798963

U.S. Defense Firms Vow More Cooperation with Taiwan

On May 3, a delegation of U.S. defense contractors and a former senior leader of the U.S. Marine Corps pledged the beginning of deeper cooperation with Taiwan.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific commander, Steven Rudder and a group of 25 American defense contractors were in Taiwan to attend the Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Forum organized by the U.S.-based U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.

Speaking at the forum in Taipei, Rudder pledged that he and the group of American defense contractors are committed to helping Taiwan defend itself through defense industrial partnerships, “because we, with our other like-minded partners in the area, want peace and security.”

The group, he said, wanted “to be part of the self-defense capabilities of Taiwan,” to ensure supply chain resilience, and preserve and expand Taiwan’s space in the international community.

Rudder said the group was also hoping to get a better picture of Taiwan’s strategic thinking and how the U.S. defense industry could help boost Taiwan’s deterrence and resilience against a potential Chinese invasion.

Rudder believed that Taiwan and the U.S. needed to boost their joint interoperability to make sure they have the ability “to talk, converse, and coordinate with each other under the same Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance or C4ISR system.”

He said it was critical for any military to have joint interoperability, which he described as the ability to have the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines work together to create a “combined capability that has seamless communications, common networks.”

During a follow-up panel discussion session, Shen Ming-shih, acting deputy CEO of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), a Taiwan government-funded think tank, said Taiwan and the U.S. have had a long history of defense industry cooperation.

In recent years, however, the U.S. seems to have had some concerns over transferring military technology to Taiwan due to fears that confidential information could be leaked to China because of the many espionage cases seen in Taiwan, Shen said.

In response, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, said in the same session that such efforts required more involvement from Taiwan’s government to protect industry secrecy. “There is still work to be done,” he said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202305030004
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/05/04/2003799100